Early last summer, two high school seniors told me that Professor Lloyd Ultan made them cry. These were not wimpy looking guys, but they clearly wore their feelings closer to the surface than I would have guessed. They had interviewed Professor Ultan for their film project about the Bronx River. One of guys said, “It’s the way he tells a story. He makes tears come to your eyes. I was holding the camera and wiping my eyes…He’s the man!” They both nodded their heads in agreement.
A couple of months later, I literally bumped into Prof. Ultan in the hallway of the Bronx Historical Society and we started talking. I asked him if he could help me fill in some gaps in my understanding of Bronx history in an interview for my blog. He graciously agreed. I realized the moment he started talking that a written interview would not capture him best. It is certainly true that he is a gifted story teller. His knowledge of Bronx history seems endless and his eagerness to share what knows is equally tireless. Plus he’s entirely engaging. I would have enjoyed history in school if I’d had him as my history teacher.
I am happy to share with you Part 1 of my interview with Professor Lloyd Ultan, Bronx Borough Historian. I’ve divided the interview into segments. This is the first half hour segment. I will post the remaining interview in half hour segments over the next month.
Click the link below to download the podcast as an mp3.:
Bronx Bohemian Podcast Interview 1, Part 1
00:00 = Bronx Bohemian walking along Bainbridge Ave en route to interview
01:59 = Professor Lloyd Ultan at the Bronx Historical Society
02:26 = 209th Street has disappeared
03:06 = Prof. Ultan on how he became the borough historian and what his duties are
04:43 = Prof. Ultan is a Bronxite to his core!
05:56 = The Grand Concourse, inspired by the grand boulevard the Champs-Élysées in Paris, designed by Louis Risse
08:18 = The Grand Concourse was a symbol of success
10:37 = Thomas Jefferson Descendants are Neighbors on the Grand Concourse. NY Times Article: An American Family
11:20 = What is “The Bronx”? A county? What is a borough exactly?
12:03 = Role of the Borough President
13:05 = How the Bronx got its name
17:07 = The court case about the “The” in the Bronx
18:53 = Jonas Bronck: Who was he and why did he come here?
29:51 = Outro
30:25 = End of Part 1
Music: “Que Pena / Tanto Faz featuring Tamy (scmixer regrooved mix)” by s.c.mixer
Tech: Colin Turner, Chief urbologist, urbTek, LLC
“The Bronx In The Innocent Years, 1890 – 1925”, with Gary Hermalyn (1991 2nd ed).
“The Beautiful Bronx, 1920-1950” , (1979).
“The Bronx: It was Only Yesterday, 1935 – 1965”, with Gary Hermalyn (1992).
“Bronx Accent: A Literary And Pictorial History of the Borough”, with Barbara Unger (2000).
“The Northern Borough: A History of the Bronx”, to be released this year. It is the first single volume on the history of the Bronx since 1912.
Additional Resources for topics discussed in this podcast:
The Grand Concourse and Boulevard at 100 Walking Tours led by Lloyd Ultan
Part 1 – The Lower Concourse — Saturday, May 9th at 1:00pm
Meeting Place: 161st Street on the steps of The Bronx County Courthouse Building
Part 2 – The Upper Concourse — Saturday, May 30th at 1:00pm
Meeting Place: Loew’s Paradise Theater, 188th Street and the Grand Concourse
Reservations must be made with the Bronx County Historical Society 718.881-8900
$15 for non-members of the historical society, $10 for members